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Tactics & demands

A tactic is something you do (e.g. chant incessantly). A demand is something you want (some water). You use tactics to get demands met ("We're going to chant incessantly unless you bring us some water.")

Matching tactics to demands is one key to successful Legal Solidarity. A group using solidarity should come up with a set of demands and corresponding tactics. It's crucial to make sure the authority (police, guard, judge, prosecutor, etc.) you are making a demand to can meet that demand and is affected by your tactic. If not, you are unlikely to accomplish anything.

Another key to successful Legal Solidarity is clear communication of your tactics and demands to authorities. For example, if a cell-full of people starts screaming without both telling a guard their reason and making a demand, the guard won't understand why they are shouting and what to do to make them stop. The group needs to get the guard’s attention and then have one or two elected spokespersons clearly communicate specific demands.

Finally, when using tactics and demands, it's important to follow through on your promises. If you don't, you establish a lack of trust that jeopardises all future negotiations.

Below are lists of common demands and tactics that have been used in police custody and courts.

Some demands in police custody:

  • Give an injured or ill person immediate medical attention
  • Bring some water
  • Return a person who has been separated
  • Allow group visits with the legal team/lawyer

Some solidarity/non-cooperation tactics that have been used include:

  • Not bringing ID and refusing to give name or address
  • Refusing to sign bail
  • Chanting, singing or dancing incessantly
  • Refusing to follow orders
  • Going limp
  • Stripping

Groups should talk in advance about which demands and which types of tactics they want to use.

It's not necessary for everyone in the group to participate in a given tactic in order for it to work. However, you need enough people participating in a given tactic for it to be effective. Creativity and flexibility are the keys to successful tactics.